The How Hill Trust is a renowned environmental educational charity, established in 1984. We are based in the landmark How Hill House overlooking beautiful gardens, wetlands, historic windmills, woodlands and the river Ant.
Around 1900, Edward Thomas Boardman, a prominent Norwich architect, seeking a country retreat, purchased some 800 acres of marsh, pasture and farmland bordering the River Ant north of Ludham. The most striking feature of this estate was a knoll of glacial sand and gravel some fifty feet above sea level, one of the highest points in the entire Broads district. Mr Boardman chose this spot to build an imposing thatched mansion in 1905, which he and his family used initially as a holiday home. During the first World War the house was extended and it became the family home in 1918.
For 17 years Norfolk County Council ran a residential education centre at How Hill, but it was closed in 1983 for financial reasons. After a public campaign, the Centre was saved by a consortium led by the Norwich Union Insurance Group and the Broads Authority.
The How Hill Trust, set up in 1984, is a unique organisation, which for 18 years held a lease on the house from the Norwich Union Insurance Group. In April 2002, the Company handed over the unfettered freehold of the house and gardens to the Trustees. The Broads Authority granted a lease on part of the estate, and an access agreement for the remainder. The Trust is, however, responsible for its own finances, and is an entirely independent registered charity.
The main role of the Trust is to provide Environmental Education by means of residential field courses and day visits for school children and young people; this will always be the central activity at How Hill. The children who come here have a wonderful time. They explore our woods and marshes, find out about the reed harvest, visit the windmill and have a trip on the river. They try their hand at thatching and an assortment of other activities and crafts. Above all, they gain an insight into the fragile world of the Broads and are left with memories of having fun with nature which we hope will spark a lifelong respect for wildlife and the environment. Visit the school visits section to find out more.
We also offer special events, a tearoom, open gardens and venue hire. The Trust is a totally independent charity. All profits made from our courses and events support our education work.
Open 10am – 5pm daily from Easter to late October.